Strava Tipp: Privacy zones make it harder for thieves

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Strava is really cool, because satisfies the second most fundamental desire of mankind (after survival): competing with one another. But Strava is also good for monitoring your own rides and tracking your performance. The gamification that Strava runs in addition (Festive 500, Gran Frodo…) make the whole thing even more tempting to use and the possibility to upload one’s own activities to all popular social media platforms… I guess that I don’t have to go on talking about generation selfie, right?

Occasionally you do hear from incidents in which the technology (GPS etc.) is being abused. And by that I don’t mean the riders themselves, but people who want to snatch the riders’ machines. For a long time I have used Strava without thinking about privacy settings, mostly because I only had followers that I knew in “real life” also. Nowadays I am getting requests from people who come from the same city, but whom I don’t know at all. And since the police in England have been warning about cellars and garages being broken into after “hints” made on Strava and that expensive bikes have been stolen, I have been somewhat skeptical about the whole “tracking my rides” thing. Everybody was able to look into where my daily rides started and ended. I mean the precise address. And that (assuming some kind of criminal energy) is not very far away from breaking into a cellar to steal a bike. In addition, you have the possibility in Strava to show off your bikes by entering them on the website. And if I see a “Cannondale Track Bike in one of a kind worldwide condition” on Strava I might even be the one thinking about upgrading my criminal energy, if you know what I mean.

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As I now found out, Strava has already been aware of this problem for some time and has improved the privacy settings for the users, so it is possible for them to create privacy zones around a certain position on the map. You can enter any desired address and Strava will draw a 500-meter or 1-kilometer (probably half a mile and one mile, if you use Strava with those measurements) circles/zones around that address. If you type in an exact address (with the house number), Strava draw a 500-meter circle, if you leave away the number, the circle will be one kilometer in radius. That way your rides start and end half a kilometer before you actually reach your home – or at least your followers will only see your routes until they reach the privacy circle. You of course will be able to see the whole ride. That way no thief will be able to make out your address – unless you make your address the center of the privacy circle. So just take another street near where you live and all is good.

One last thing for all you guys longing for KOMs: If you have a segment that touches or goes through your privacy zone, you won’t turn up on the scoreboard, even if you are the fastest on that segment. Even if the segment starts outside of your privacy zone. If you have a problem with that, you will have to adjust your privacy settings.

As a last point here you have a tutorial on how to set up a privacy zone.

1. Go to und log in.

2. Hover over you name and profile picture in the top right corner and click on Settings.


3. In the menu on the left side click on Privacy.


4. Now you can set up your privacy zone. Just enter your address and click on Create Privacy Zone.


5. Under Your Hidden Locations you can see the zone that is now private.


6. If you want, you can add more zone that you want to be private. Just enter more addresses. (s. 5.)

7. Now you ride privately, at least in your zones,  so that nobody can see your start and end points.


So, if you follow this tipp, your bike will be a bit safer despite using Strava. But apart from that: Start stealing KOMs, make new segments and have fun. And don’t take the whole Strava thing to serious. After all, it is only a game!

You don’t know Strava yet? Then you have to click here.

Author: John-Sebastian Komander/ Find him on Google+

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